Thursday, March 5, 2009

Review: The Ghost Brigades

The Ghost Brigades is the sequel to Old Man's War. It is, though, a very different book. It is set in the same universe - a dangerous world, where the Colonial Defense Forces have genetically transformed humans into crack soldiers, fighting against alien races for the same planets to colonize. Even better than the regular soldiers are the elite members of the Special Forces, who are grown in a lab, using the DNA from the dead. When military scientist Charles Boutin turns traitor and provokes a war, the CDF needs to find out why. Enter Jared Dirac, created from Boutin's DNA and loaded with his electronic memories.
But when the memory transplant appears to fail, Jared is given over to the Ghost Brigades. At first Jared is a perfect soldier, but as memories surface, he begins to intuit the reasons for Boutin's betrayal. ... Time is running out: the [enemy] alliance is preparing its offensive, and some of them plan worse things than humanity's mere military defeat ....
As I said, The Ghost Brigade is quite different from OMW. While there is action, it's not an action book. There's quite a bit of talking and philosophizing, lot of time spent on the ethics and politics of this society. I read a couple of reviews on Amazon and Librarything by people who disliked that about this book, but I thought it was really interesting. But what really drew me in was Jared. Even in a society that doesn't always regard the Special Forces as human, Jared is an outsider. But I found him to be very sympathetic (especially since we the readers spend much of the book inside his head). At certain points in the story, my heart really went out to Jared.

While it doesn't have quite the same heart-pounding excitement of Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades is a wonderful book. I highly recommend it. On to the third book in this series, The Last Colony!

Buy The Ghost Brigades on Amazon.

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